A badly decomposed body was found in the mangroves of Lake Maggiore in St. Petersburg, FL on Thursday morning. “It is badly decomposed,” police department spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said. “We’re unable to tell anything about it — gender or race or anything.”
St. Petersburg resident Otis Crawford and his partner, Patricia Kays, found the body early that morning during their daily breakfast by the water. The couple saw alligators dragging the body through the water, but city police said it’s too soon to know the cause of death.
The couple told The Tampa Bay Times they spotted something floating between bushes along the lake’s southeastern bank. Crawford stated that approximately ten alligators surrounded the body. “It was hard to tell if it was a person or an animal,” he said. “I got out of the car to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing.”
At that point, the gators started dragging the body south through the water. “I saw an alligator take a chunk out of (the body), throw it up in the air and catch it and eat it,” said Kays. “I had to go back to the car after that. I couldn’t watch it anymore.” The couple told a nearby city worker about the body, then called police.
The police department contacted St. Petersburg Fire Rescue to remove the body from the lake using a small, red boat. The boat made its way across the lake to look for evidence after the recovery of the body that might help investigators identify the victim but returned with nothing.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website, summertime is mating season for alligators starting with courtship in April and mating in June. By early July, females begin building nests. Alligators enjoy sunbathing on land during warm weather, which could cause them to come onto land more often during this time of year.